• Last modified 58 days ago (May 22, 2024)


A dream deferred becomes a dream realized

Staff writer

It took her a while, but at age 46, Staci Gallatin of Wichita finally has fulfilled her lifelong goal of earning a high school diploma.

She was one of 16 Kansas Online Learning Program graduates who walked across the stage Sunday at Centre High School to receive their high school diplomas.

Gallatin followed a path like that of her mother, who left school at age 16 and had a baby.

Gallatin dropped out at age 16 to raise a daughter who is now 28 years old. She also has three teenage daughters.

She was raised by her maternal grandparents after her father was killed in an accident at work, but she later re-established a relationship with her mother. Her mother, daughters, paternal grandmother, and other family members encouraged her to get her diploma.

“They were the ones who inspired me to do it,” she said. “I went online in 2022 and found the Kansas Online Learning program and called to sign up. “

Program coordinator Vickie Jirak and teacher Jacque Jirak gave her a lot of support, she said.

Jacque is a certified teacher who serves as student learning advocate for program enrollees.

“They were awesome,” Gallatin said. “I was so convinced I wasn’t going to pass, and when she told me the score, I was so happy and started crying. Then, when I got my cap and gown in the mail, I cried again.”

She has health issues and wasn’t sure whether she could walk across the stage on her own, but she did.

Her mother, four daughters, a son-in-law, two granddaughters, a daughter’s boyfriend, and a family friend attended commencement to cheer her on.

“I wish I would have stayed in school, but I’m glad I did it now,” she said. “I did something for myself, and it made me feel better about myself.”

Gallatin’s grandmother, who is battling cancer, is encouraging her to go to college and continue to study online. She is interested in pursuing early childhood studies.

Last modified May 22, 2024